Start With Why
Simon Sinek started his career working in advertising. He spent a couple years there doing that before moving on and starting his own company, Sinek Partners. It was during this period in his life where he says he plateaued and developed what he began to call the Golden Circle. He wasn’t seeing success like he was expecting and hoping for, and he eventually realized that his Why was nonexistent. After much reflection, he realized that his Why was to “Inspire others to do things that inspire them so that, together, each of us can change our world for the better.”
Sinek wrote Start With Why in 2009 and has since written four other books. His books have appeared on the NY Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller lists multiple times. He has also given a TED talk about his Golden Circle theory which has been seen more than 40 million times and is the third most watched on TED.com. Currently he speaks around the world teaching others how to become better leaders and recently published his 5th book, The Infinite Game, in late 2018.
One of the most famous parts in this book is Sinek’s Golden Circle. In it, he creates a model to help us understand how thinking affects people. There are 3 main topics that we think about: Why, How, and What. The How and the What correspond to the brain’s neocortex region which uses logic and rationale, while the Why corresponds to the limbic brain, which is where our ‘gut’ feelings and emotions lie. What he believes is that most people, especially leaders or salesmen, tend to focus on the How and the What, while leaving out the Why. The Why is our passion, and it is what can get others to relate to us and become big followers of us or our brands, yet hardly any people focus on it. If we are able to speak from our limbic region by using our Why, we connect to other people’s limbic regions and they begin to feel the passion and excitement as well, which motivates them to perform an action of some sort.
I loved how Sinek used stories of real-world organizations to illustrate his points. He had many examples about Apple and how they were able to create and maintain a cult-like following by expressing and living their Why. The Why of Apple is to challenge the status quo in any area, which is why they are able to expand and leave their mark on so many different industries without it feeling haphazard (music, cell phone, computer, mp3 industries). This Why is attractive to people who also love to challenge the status quo, which helps them bond to Apple and become obsessed with their products and only buy Apple products. If more companies/people/causes were able to clearly express their Why they would see more results.
So far this year I have read more books than I did all of last year (super sad) and a couple of them already have landed on my top 10 list of all time. This is one of them. I had heard this book was super good a long time ago, so I put it on my list. Then a couple weeks ago I had the opportunity to go to a business conference and listen to a man named Mitch Matthews present. It was the first time I had heard about the Golden Circle, and I sat there in awe as Mitch presented and talked about it.
As a business owner and salesman, I am always looking for better ways to connect with my coworkers and customers, and this put into words what I had been thinking a lot about. I had no idea that it came from this book, so as soon as I found out I wanted to make it the next one on my list. This book definitely lived up to my high expectations. I love how Sinek focuses on the Why, which is something I have struggled to keep clear in my personal and professional life at times. However, I also love the insights that he gives into transforming the Why into the How and the What, because without those we will have no business.
I am going to spend a lot of personal time thinking about my Why, both in business and in life. I believe there can and should be multiple ones, but that they are tied together. I haven’t done a good job in my business having a clear Why, and I know that it will help me inspire and lead others, both my coworkers and customers.
I think any business owner or person who has direct influence on another person (leader, teacher, parent, etc.) should read this book. If we want to inspire them we need to learn how to create a connection with them, and this book goes into that process and what is involved. I personally have constantly been thinking about how I can clarify my own personal and professional Why’s since reading this book, and like I have mentioned before, I give a lot of weight to the amount of time I spend thinking about a book after reading it. Start With Why gets an 8.5/10 from me.
Top 8 Quotes
“The role of a leader is not to come up with all the great ideas. The role of a leader is to create an environment in which great ideas can happen.”
“Happy employees ensure happy customers.”
“You don’t hire for skills, you hire for attitude. You can always teach skills.”
“Finding WHY is a process of discovery, not invention.”
“People don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it.”
“There are only two ways to influence human behavior: you can manipulate it or you can inspire it.”
“When you compete against everyone else, no one wants to help you. But when you compete against yourself, everyone wants to help you.”
“All organizations start with WHY, but only the great ones keep their WHY clear year after year.”
Read this book? Have any questions or thoughts? Leave a comment below!
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